George Cayley

Sir George Cayley was an Aeronautical engineer


George CaleyWho was he? Sir George Cayley was an Aeronautical (fancy word for things that fly) engineer. He was born in Scarborough, in 1773.

What did he do? Sir George Cayley was the father of aerodynamics. He identified the four aerodynamic forces of flight: weight, lift, drag, and thrust. Most famously he was the first people to design and build a working glider that could carry a man.

Engineering claim to fame? Before Cayley, people had based their ideas of how to make man fly on what they saw in nature – in other words ‘birds’. Cayley ignored the flapping of the wings and studied how birds stayed in the air as they glided around.

Back to the drawing board? Cayley loved inventing and didn’t just stop at just aircraft – he contributed designs and ideas for boats, helicopters and even railway crossings! He spent his life trying to find ways to make the world around him better, even if it didn’t work first time.

Fascinating Fact? Cayley started engineering at a very young age – historians have found some sketches Caley did when he was just 11 showing that he was already working out how to make aircraft!

Where can you find out more? You can find out lots more about Sir George Cayley and lots of other flight pioneers at the Yorkshire Air Museum. There is even a replica of one of the Gliders Cayley designed. Click here to find out more!

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